Anacreon Era III Discussion Thread

General discussion for the game Anacreon
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Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:42 pm

Can anyone comment on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of starfrigates in Era 3? Especially against jumpcruisers?

They were the ultimate killer defensive death machines in Beta I/II until the explorer decoy expoit became well known. They got a hard nerf in era 3 (I did push for them to not lose quite as much damage and get area of effect, although I still am not sure whether AoE actually has any real effect on combat) and got much weaker armor. Right now I wonder what their use case is.

On paper they look like a terrible deal for their cost, as slow as starcruisers but very fragile against direct assault. Their missile defense does not seem like it would be sufficient to defend against a comparable WU investment into jumpcruisers, and their weapons do not look like an effective counter to starcruiser armor except in engagements where no other units are in play (they are fully protected, but it looks like it would take them ages to knock out starcruisers).

On a related note, can anyone comment on whether the explorer decoy exploit still works in Era 3? For those who have not encountered this exploit: if you jump in a bazillion explorers one watch before your main strike force arrives at a planet, all the defenders will be busy potshotting explorers and will not target your strong attackers for a long time. This was mostly used against all-starfrigate defenses in Beta II. With the arrival of Era 3 and Minotaurs and jumpcruisers as primary attackers (instead of Eldritches) I am wondering whether people are adopting all-starcruiser defenses instead, or are people mixing planetary defenses? Is it even possible to effectively defend a planet against a determined attacker?

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Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:33 pm

Yeah, they're quite weak. Same goes for starcruisers. Actually the only really effective units right now are the Minotaur (for defense and a strong but slow offense) and the Adamant/Undine (for a weaker and faster offense) And the "explorer meatshield exploit" counters everything, especially starfrigates. Until the priority targeting is fixed in Era 4 it will be difficult to really test the balance of units.

Minotaurs are much better defenders because they can take out the meatshield much quicker than Gorgos, as a low damage shot still kills one Helion per tick compared to a high damage shot. So at least that limits the meatshield tactic to at most one or two uses before said meatshield is no more. Still a powerful alpha strike is very skewed towards the attacker's favor.

It is much more difficult to defend than attack, honestly all the empires' defenses are only for show, they will do nothing against a similar strength attacker who will show up in force, take their sector capitals with 5-10% casualties and proceed to dismantle the rest of the empire with defected units. Ships can be rebuilt but screwed up trade clusters take a much longer time to recover.

There are a lot of underlying issues which should be fixed before altering units stats again. So far we've just gone from 2 main offensive/defensive units (Eldritch and Gorgos) to another 2 (Undine and Minotaur).
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Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:49 pm

If gunships and jumpcruisers are the primary attackers right now, shouldn't jumpmissiles be a viable defense?

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Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:25 am

A much smaller force of Eldritch can take out the citadels surrounding the target before the main fleet arrives while the player is AFK. That's assuming they have jumpbeacon access, otherwise I'd just send a gunship escort.

Since AFK attacks are so OP, what do people think about say a 100% buff to all unit stats for 24 hours since the last login? There is already a function for recording the amount of time passed since "your last appearance", that's the message appearing above the capital where you login, so I'm thinking it wouldn't be too hard to code. A function to apply and remove the stats change to all units for 24 hours, and perhaps provide a warning to potential attackers that the buff is in effect, similar to the "social order penalty" one we get.

Effectively doubling the fleet strength of AFK defenders would solve a lot of balance issues I think.

Quick Edit: Actually what might be even easier would be to just apply the same social order penalty for attacking an AFK player. For lore reasons the message could be "Our people will object to the conquest of a dormant empire which is currently no threat to us" etc...
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Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:37 am

What I would like to see is two meatshields smashing into each other in one glorious meat related festival of charred feelings.

By the way, the eldritch is still viable. I just haven't been able to produce enough this time around to use them. They're so expensive... But your glorious puttering Undines are actually quite useless to a significant force of eldritch.

Also, I wonder how the meatshield in the following scenario:
Player one has a significant force on world, player one is attacked by flabby protein "not weapon turned lethal butt raping device", player one reacts in time and brings in a sufficient force of.... Jumpships... now the meatshield is trapped in an agressive death trap, player two brings in hammer device. How does this play out? Usually player one is destroyed and losses the world, but with the meatshield trapped between another meatshield who wins??? This is curious because hardly anyone can react so fast, so I have never seen anyone able to accomplish it.

All joking aside, the game just really needs some different weapons or give us the ability to create our own stuff, because there will never be an ultimate "every thing is equal" game, unless you want to play chess.... then just go play Chess or Go. The whole idea of these types of strategy games though is to find a weakness and exploit the living mess out of it, whether that weakness be the player or the game, it doesn't matter. Finding the weakness is part of the skill. If you can effectively create an something on your own with as little weaknesses as possible, and the opponent cannot exploit them you sort of win. Now since this is still some sort of Beta game it is nice to be able to hash out ideas for the game to make it more well rounded, affording that the creators actually take our opinions, problems, and strategies into account and not forever stall us....

Bugzzzzzzzz in the Core...............
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Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:58 am

I don't like the idea of buffs for inactivity AND maluses for attacking dormant players, since:
  1. it incentivizes a peculiar strategy where you optimize your economy to churn out low-attrition units in order to go on the offensive only every so often once your output plateaus, while remaining inactive the rest of the time to get a huge buff
  2. players will create alt accounts just to keep an eye at the universe while remaining AFK for buffs until they are ready to attack
  3. players who have abandoned the game would clutter the map since they would be hard to attack
  4. if you buff units, it would interfere with how new players learn combat mechanics and unit strengths, since the same units would have different strengths depending on player state.
A couple years back I suggested a special "hermit civilization" doctrine that could be used by players who expect to be away for a while. This doctrine would reduce labor output for components and space/ground units, and maybe limit ship movement somehow (smaller jumpbeacon radius?). It would not be solely a vacation mode; you would still be able to attack other players. The key feature of this doctrine would be that it would impose additional unavoidable unrest penalties or incite unit defections against any unprovoked attacker regardless of size or strength. There would have to be some maximum length of time that an empire could remain in this doctrine during any given period- maybe no more than 7 days in any two- or three-week period, to keep players from creating second accounts just to form unconquerable space-occupying empires near their enemies in order to to deny valuable planets to them.

I think ultimately one problem is that the combat systems seem to be optimized for shorter timeframes than currently exist in practice. The game seems to expect you to go through a phase where low-tech units are needed to survive and doesn't seem to expect gigantic fleet sizes. Games played on slightly smaller maps that last a week or two and then declare a victor and end, rather than one perpetual persistent universe, would solve a lot of the issues with combat and combat strategies.

For example, Imperial Conflict has comparatively frequent refreshes plus a basic alliance mechanic and some sort of analytics/player trophy system for keeping track of wins. Those features have allowed it to retained a seriously dedicated playerbase and apparently draw revenue despite having much cruder mechanics than Anacreon (for the most part).

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Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:52 am

Saxophon Traders Bullettin:

recent events:

- The bugzzz have triumphantly devastated the galaxy once again, the only empire to defend well and counter attack was the "THE"

- Imperium abdicated

- Many empires seem afk

- There is a new little empire named Hogosha

- There is an old friend back in the galaxy, precisely in the damned cursed west nebula: Welcome back Cabbage Corp!

- After the bug storm Q moved away his empire to find a new home in the west
IN GEORGE WE TRUST

gc2
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Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:11 pm

Well, what you failed to mentioned is that Imperium decided to take a swing at me too. In fact, I think bugz never had me as the primary target, feels like he just took a detour at my capital on his way to attack the Republic of Reason. Shame my main capital didn't spawn in the nebula and got taken down by gunships. I don't know why either empire wanted a piece of me since attacking first put them into a state of massive social unrest (I think every one of Imperium's planets was in civil war).
I think this game captures the theme of the Foundation series really well. Eras come and go, large empires rise out of the wilderness of swathes of independent worlds, but the balance is really quite fragile. When planets are taken in wars, complex trade networks are destroyed, the local populace is devastated and rebel. Their loyalty disappears instantly when people start dying without any regards to the welfare of the empire a a whole. The northeastern corner of the galaxy was in complete chaos. Even though some planets retained their designations, they lack the resources to build anything. Habitation structures fall into ruin when technology level regress. Now the planets are independent again, but many of them ended up with tiny populations and terrible efficiency due to many cycles of civil war. Some of them had ships of the old empires, but lacks the means to replace them so the fleets will eventually attrition away. If anyone is going to rebuild anything from the remains, it will take many more cycles. It's all very interesting to watch, and if only anyone can do something similar to what occurred in the books: set up two foundations at both ends of the galaxy with the intent of reducing the period of chaos between ages of stability.

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Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:53 pm

Yeah I was in a similar situation to you g2, bugzzzzz attacked my old empire but the underlying purpose was to take a jumpyard that was in range of poorly-defended Imperium capitals. The social order penalties for attacking small empires won't deter an aggressive major power from doing this sort of thing and without any kind of galaxy-wide news service it's easy for it to get overlooked.

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Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:51 pm

I suppose it has been long enough and the suspense is killing everyone that survived. I will lay out what happened as best I can recall.

In the beginning there was the bugzzzzzzz. The Imperium arose suddenly in the time of the end of the Beta 2 Galaxy and destroyed that empire in a total galactic chaos. We rose from the ashes to challenge and the Imperium squashed our forces. There was word of giant wormhole and fears of annihilation of the galaxy, so everyone fled. The Bugz were through first, and we quickly set up an empire of formidable size. Others arrived as well. Then the Imperium came and took the entire North, while the Bugz took all of the south. There was war and the Imperium fled through the wormhole to some where. We decided to take another form after some time. The bugz empire thrived and their was chaos and the bugz were happy. Others rose to power through means of quiet intelligence's. They would refused to fight and we so caused chaos, migrated to the north and were happy. Upon migration to the North to occupy the former Imerpium space, a beacon was triggered and they returned. Through the tare in the fabric of space many races poured through and filled the galaxy once again. The Bugz prepared for war and were defeated, we fled in angst to the hollowed out shell of Crystalline Core's Empire and became a new. The Chaos of the lost Crystalline Empire was too much for our ragged fleets to endure. The Bug King was pondering and conquering, but we must have stumbled upon the tare the led the others in and our fleets fell into the tare, never to return. With the disappearance of the Emperor of Aelion, the empire disintegrated. The Bug King survived and came to upon an alien world called the Core. He united the factions and took hold of power once again. From there The Bug King took hold of Crystalline's old worlds with a new strength. This was toward the time of war that was coming one more. The races that had entered through the tare were preparing weapons. The Bug King saw this once before and took his advantage. The race to the south gave the Core many fleets and soldiers and worlds. Then all was silent for a time and we struck a sudden blow. Acquiring great forces from ravaged races we finally reached the Imperium. There was but one way to enter and enter we did, and thrashed and tore and smote and stole as much as we could. There was only one stronghold in the very heart of the galaxy that we could not penetrate. We withdrew our forces and waited. The Imperium command returned after some time. It appeared that an A.I. had achieved dominance within that empire and was very bent on the destruction of all sentience in the galaxy. This would fail however. The Core, apart from the Bug King, had spleanded spies and infiltrated Terra. As all of Imperium was bearing down on the galaxy the Spy's of Core diverted the A.I. and sent the forces array. Most of the Minotaur were sent to the Bugz while the of the fleets were scattered and confused. In the split second before the Spy's of Core were vaporized, they deleted the A.I. and the Imperium vanished. It is difficult to say where exactly the intelligence of the Imperium has fled to or if indeed it was the A.I. Upon receiving the Minotaur fleets, The Bug King ordered a full withdraw of the galaxy to chase down the Imperium. However, this has failed and there is no sign of the Imperium in any of the realms beyond the galaxy. With this news he gave all equipment to the Saxophone Traders Union, to hold dominion over their trade routes if the A.I. or Imperium should rise again.

Thus, The War has come to an end and Silence now rules the once chaotic galaxy. The worlds are left to their own devices in the remaining time they have until another end comes. Perhaps they will know peace, but maybe they will only be conquered again..

Upon departure from the galaxy the Core developed a machine to keep a searching wormhole open. It appears this machine, on a world on the other side of the galaxy, has become sentient and is colonizing the independent worlds once again. I the Bug King, have sent a monitor to asses the situation from a far corner of the galaxy on a small asteroid where my presence will not be noticed. The War has left me tired, but wiser. For now, I will observe.
Fire, Fire, Fire;
Streaks of golden light,
Rays of cosmic waves crashing through still dead night.

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Sun Dec 10, 2017 10:17 am

Oh come now, it's a 4X game. Can you really be irked at BugKing or myself for focusing mostly on the "Exterminate" part? :D

That said, Core did take me by surprise while I was offline for a few days. The Imperium was pretty much defeated by that stage (all the trade clusters were disrupted), but I still had a larger fleet than all the other empires combined. So I decided to go wild and take everyone else out at the same time and declare victory by virtue of being the last one left standing.

Unfortunately I had rather underestimated the social order penalty applied to attacking weaker players. Actually every single world was in civil war, and
I had only killed 2 empires so far. Cleaning up the rest would destroy my empire before I could declare victory, so I abdicated. Well done to Core and the Bug King. We shall meet again in Era 4.

I'm done with Anacreon for now, having had the chance to test the new version out (twice), and the Era 3 changes were definitely a step in the right direction. Kudos to George and team.
"Live long and may the Force be ever in your favour, Mr. Potter"
-- Gandalf (The Chronicles of Narnia)

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